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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 03-29-2012, 05:48 AM   #1
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Project M54 Engine: Oil Pan and Pump

Oil Pan and Pump

Links to other parts of the project

Access to the oil pan is difficult. I don't have a car to show how to do it, but there are DIY's that can show you the details. It involves supporting the engine, and removing the front suspension subframe. This sits directly below the oil pan, so its removal is essential to get access to the oil pan.

Please excuse some of the photos here being upside down. The engine is on a stand. In a car, it's obviously going to be the other way around.

Why would you need to do it? My only thoughts are that the pan is leaking, and the gasket needs replacing. The oil pump is very simple, and from what I can see is designed to never fail, and never require maintenance. You may have the need to work on the crankshaft, which will require the removal of the pan and pump.

The pan has a load of bolts that hold it on. Most of the bolts go into the block. Two of these are accessed inside the transmission bell housing (they still screw into the block). In addition, there are a couple of torx bolts that join the transmission to the oil pan. These also need to be removed. They can all be accessed from below the car.

Once the bolts are removed, it needs a bit of a thump at the front left tab to dislodge it. It's stuck to the block with sealant.

The pan gasket is metal with the inner portion being rubber. When installing, put some non hardening sealant on the block where the block joins the two covers at the front and rear (4 places in total). Then install all the bolts, and torque evenly.

The oil level sensor can easily be removed and replaced without removing the subframe. Just remove the three nuts, and pull it out. Make sure you drain the oil before doing this. Expect more oil to come out when you remove the sensor. My Bentley manual doesn't have a torque for the installation, but it is a M6 nut, and it felt like it had about 10Nm on it.

Once the oil pan is removed, the oil pump and standpipe are exposed. You can see from the photos that the pump is up the front of the engine, but the oil is drawn from the rear of the engine at the sump. The end of the standpipe that sits in the sump has a metal sieve in it. Anything larger than about 1mm in diameter would not be drawn into the pump.

Removal is simple. Two nuts at the sieve end, and one at the pump need to be removed. Pull the pipe at the sieve end away from the bracket, and the pull it out at the pump.

If you need to access the crankshaft, there is a cover that needs to be removed. It only covers the end without the oil pump. Installation of the cover is the reverse. Again my Bentley manual doesn't have any torques for this, but the small bolt felt like it had about 10Nm on it, and the large bolts felt like they had 20Nm.

At the front is the oil pump. The first step is to remove the sprocket and chain. Remove the nut on the front of the sprocket, and then carefully slide the sprocket off with the chain. The chain can then be disconnected. In these pictures, the chain has disappeared, into the block, but when in the car it will hang down. Installing this nut for the sprocket is 25Nm. This is a critical task when installing. Pretty much the only way this pump can fail (outside of oil starvation) is this nut falling off.

Update: I found something interesting when I installed everything. If you look at my post on the timing chain cover, you will see that on the crankshaft there is a double sprocket. One of these is for the oil pump, the other is for the timing. This is reversible, so it can go on either way. When I was installing everything, I had the double sprocket reversed from its original position (I didn't know it at the time). When I went to fit the sprocket to the oil pump, it came up about 1mm short. I couldn't understand why. Each of the sprockets on the crankshaft is identical, even when I measured them later. After reversal it fit fine. Why am I telling you this. Well when I initially fit the oil pump, I didn't fit the sprocket to it, I just let the chain hang loose. I then proceded put the rest of the engine together. Head, camshafts, timing, vanos, etc. I then couldn't get the oil pump sprocket on. I had to dismantle the entire engine again to swap over the double sprocket to make it fit. A bit frustrating, but good practice. This would have been a shocker if I was actually rebuilding the engine. Moral of the story, if you are rebuilding the engine, make sure this fits prior to moving onto the next task.

To remove the pump, remove the four bolts at the corner of the bracket that holds the pump. It then will come straight off. There are no O Rings or gaskets. As you can see this needs to be done in order to access the crankshaft at this end. Installation of these bolts is 22Nm.

Pulling apart the pump is very simple. There are 5 bolts at the front that need to come off. Inside it is very simple. Only two moving parts. If you get the chance to have one of these in your hands, spin it around. It's a work of art.

Inside the pump assembly is the oil pressure regulator. Here are some pictures of the components and how it works.

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Last edited by jjrichar; 06-12-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:10 PM   #2
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great writeup! Which is the bolt that loosens over time causing failure?
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:39 PM   #3
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Scooby, that would be the oil pump sprocket nut, most people loctite or safety wire it, I used red loctite, if you order a new nut from BMW it has a staking compound in the threads.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:46 PM   #4
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I used the lock wire in my M50 track build. You can also put a small spot weld on the front with no harmful effect.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Lock wire, spot weld, loctite, etc are good for keeping the nut from backing off on everything but an m54b30. Securing the nut just leads to the end of the pump shaft shearing off in those motors.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:10 PM   #6
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awesome detailed pics man, helps so much when I end up needing to do the oil pan gasket on the wife's car! thanks for these pics and explanations and TORQUE settings!
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the detailed information. I really appreciate what you are doing. I have the oil pan off and thinking about doing the oil pump overhaul.. I am going to order the pressure regulator parts and the o-ring for the oil pickup tube.

Question for you, Do I need to remove the pump off the engine to access the regulator or can I just remove the circlip and the piston comes out?
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Old 01-14-2016, 04:12 PM   #8
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You don't need to remove the pump.
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:11 AM   #9
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Thanks for your efforts on another detailed DIY jjrichar . We know it takes lots of extra time to document it so well

Last edited by DEADF15H; 01-16-2016 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:45 AM   #10
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jjrichar, are you located in Syd, Melb, Brisb?

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Old 05-07-2016, 04:13 AM   #11
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Sent you a PM
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Old 06-15-2017, 05:13 AM   #12
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Is it possible that TIS also doesnt list the torque settings for the bolts that hold the splash guard?
So the M8 bolts and the one m6 bolt.
I couldnt find it but maybe I overlooked it or its listed somewhere else. (you'd think the official bmw system would have ALL settings, in which case it may be listed somewhere else....)
TIS is pretty sketchy on the bottom end in general compared to the rest anyway.

I used 23Nm for the m8 bolts and 10Nm for the m6 bolt (the m6 bolt is not that important imho). Those seem to be about the generic torque setting for bolts that size in aluminium. Like the m8 bolts that hold the oil pump.

When replacing the oil pump nut obviously use a torque wrench that can do CCW torque. Not every wrench can do that, so if you're waiting for that click and it doesnt come.....

This series of threads is awesome btw
E85 Z4 3.0i | ESS TS2+ | Quaife ATB LSD | Custom Brembo BBK front/rear | Schrick cams | Schmiedmann headers/cats | Powerflex/strongflex PU bushings | Vibra-technics engine mounts | H&R anti rollbars | KW V3 coilovers | Sachs performance clutch

Last edited by GuidoK; 06-15-2017 at 05:22 AM.
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